National Deaf Children's Society seeks judicial review of local authority cuts

Charity says Stoke-on-Trent City Council has made the largest cut to deaf children's services that it is aware of

National Deaf Children's Society
National Deaf Children's Society

The National Deaf Children’s Society is planning to seek a judicial review against Stoke-on-Trent City Council over cuts to the council’s support services for deaf children.

A spokeswoman for NDCS said the local authority had reduced the budget for its integration services directorate, which includes the team that supports deaf children, from £5.004m in 2010/11 to £3.447m in 2011/12 – a reduction of 32 per cent.

The charity claims the council is in breach of the law for failing to assess properly the impact the cuts would have on deaf children, and for introducing changes that risk putting deaf children at a greater disadvantage.

The spokeswoman said the charity had decided to act against Stoke because it had made the largest cut to deaf children’s services that it was aware of.

The charity’s solicitors, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, wrote to the council saying it intended to take legal action if the decision was not reversed.

It gave the council until Friday last week to respond. The council did so, but the spokeswoman for NDCS said the local authority did not address the issues raised in the letter

"The contents of the council’s reply have therefore informed our decision to apply for a judicial review and we have gathered the appropriate witness statements to set this in motion," she said.

NDCS had been campaigning for the council to review its budgets in this area since last November, she added, but it had refused to reconsider its actions so the charity was forced to take legal action.

A spokesman for Stoke-on-Trent city council said: "In light of impending legal action from the National Deaf Children's Society, it would be inappropriate for the city council to comment further at this stage."

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